Valerie French (actress)

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Valerie French
Valerie French in Jubal trailer.jpg
French in the 1956 film Jubal
Born Valerie Harrison
(1928-03-11)11 March 1928
London, England
Died 3 November 1990(1990-11-03) (aged 62)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death leukemia
Occupation Actress
Years active 1954-1982
Spouse(s) Michael Pertwee (1952-1959)
Thayer David (1970-1975)

Valerie French (11 March 1928 - 3 November 1990) was an English film and stage actress whose career began in the 1950s.


Born Valerie Harrison in London, she spent her early childhood in Spain, but returned to England to become a student at Malvern Girls' College. After graduating, she joined the BBC drama department, working in television production before deciding to become an actress, joining the Theatre Royal Repertory Company. She moved into film acting in her early 20s. Her first film appearance was in a minor role in the 1954 Italian film Maddalena. After a role in the British film The Constant Husband (1955), she moved to Hollywood.[1]

Her best-remembered roles during this period were in western films such as Jubal in 1956 opposite Glenn Ford and Decision at Sundown opposite Randolph Scott in 1957. She also appeared in the science fiction film The 27th Day (1957). Critic Gene Blottner says that French's performances in this era were "sultry, exuding raw sex".[2]

Her television roles included episode #61 of Have Gun – Will Travel, and The Prisoner, episode: "Living In Harmony". She later appeared in daytime television shows, including two roles on The Edge of Night, The Nurses, and (briefly) All My Children.


French returned to the theatre in the 1960s. She performed in a Broadway production of John Osborne's play "Inadmissible Evidence" in 1965 and was also in "Help Stamp Out Marriage!" in 1966. She caused a minor sensation by appearing on stage naked in "The Mother Lover", at the Booth Theater in 1969, though only her back was visible to the audience.[1]

Personal life[edit]

French was married twice. In 1952, at the age of 24, she married her first husband, the playwright Michael Pertwee, who was 36 at the time. They divorced seven years later, in 1959, when she was 31 and he was 42.[1]

In 1970, at the age of 42, French married her second husband, the actor Thayer David. They divorced five years later, in 1975, when she was 47. They later got back together and were planning to re-marry at the time of his death in 1978 at the age of 51, when she was 50.[1]

French died of leukemia in 1990.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e Collins, Glenn (1990-11-06). "Valerie French, 59, Actress Who Played English Characters." The New York Times, November 6, 1990.
  2. ^ Gene Blottner, Columbia Noir: A Complete Filmography, 1940-1962, McFarland, 2015, p.117.

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